Mistake #: You Didn’t Test The Soil
Okay, youre no scientist, but you might want to brush up on pH if you want your grass to grow strong. pH is the measure of acidity and alkalinity. The Ph scale ranges from zero to 14, but the number you want is 7.0 because it’s neutral and the best for your grass. So, how on earth do you know what pH your soil is? Test the pH of your soil by buying a DIY soil-test kit. Follow the directions on the box and youre good to go. Once you know how acidic or alkaline your soil is, then you can take action:
- Too acidic ? add crushed lime to raise the pH.
- A bit alkaline ? Balance the pH by mixing in some peat moss.
- Overly alkaline ? Time to add sulfur.
Soil conditions change just like the weather, so be sure to repeat the soil test every spring.
Adjust The Deck Height
Lawn mowers come with notched adjustment levers that raise and lower the wheels, thus changing the distance between the deck and the ground. For walk-behind mowers, there may be one lever for each wheel, one lever for the rear wheels and another for the front wheels, or a single lever for all four wheels. With riding mowers, one lever moves the deck up and down, independent of the wheels.
We find that all configurations are easy to operate once you get the hang of it. But the notches dont always provide a corresponding cutting height, so it couldn’t hurt to take a measurement with your ruler after making the adjustment to ensure youre at the correct cutting height.
A Grass Leaf Is Like A Solar Panel
Solar panels on the roof of your house trap sunlight to produce electricity.
In order to produce as much electricity as possible, the solar panels need to trap as much sun as possible. This means big panels on south-facing roofs. If you put them on north-facing roofs or in the shade, they wont be able to trap as much light and therefore they wont produce as much electricity.
Its the same with grass but instead of producing electricity, it powers the process of photosynthesis to produce food.
The bigger the grass leaf, the more sunlight it can trap and therefore the more food it can produce.
When you reduce the size of the grass leaf by mowing, you reduce the amount of sunlight it can trap. Therefore you reduce the amount of food it can produce.
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Mow The Lawn At Least Once Per Week
- Set your lawn mower on the highest setting. This should be 3 inches or taller.
- Sharpen the blade about once per month. If you are seeing white tips on the lawn then the blade needs to be sharpened.
- Mulch the grass clippings, as long as they dont clump up all over the lawn
- Rotate the mowing direction every week.
- Mow Length-wise
Mistake #: You’re Mowing With Dull Blades
So, we know that using dull blades can lead us to cutting the lawn too short, but what other problems do dull blades pose to your lawn? It doesnt matter what kind of mower youre using a walk-behind or ride-on its important to use sharp blades if you want a beautiful lawn. Dull blades hack at the grass, leaving jagged ends that turn brown and yellow, not the luscious green youre looking for.
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Grass Height By The Numbers
Answered: What Height Should I Cut My Grass?
A majority of sources suggest keeping your lawn about two and a half inches tall through most of the year.
The exception to this is in the spring when a slightly longer lawn three inches or so can help prevent weeds and crabgrass from growing by crowding them out.
No matter how long you prefer to keep your lawn, you should only ever be removing the top third of the grass blade. This minor trim stimulates growth without putting too much stress on the grass and keeps the blades large enough to prevent weeds from taking hold.
Even more than how tall your grass should be, it is important not to trim it below two inches tall.
Cutting a lawn too short is often referred to as scalping and can provide opportunities for weeds to seed and grow.
A short lawn is a stressed lawn that is exposed to more heat and sunlight. When cut too short, the grass also puts more effort into growing the blade as opposed to deepening the roots. This creates a fragile system where the grass struggles to get the nutrients it needs from the soil and can be easily pulled up or damaged.
TIP: Instead of having to measure your grass to know when its time to mow, mark a spot you can check. This could be a mark on the side of your mower that you can reference in the grass, or perhaps even in an inconspicuous spot on your deck or fence that you could peak at periodically.
The Best Height To Cut Grass In The Fall
Inching into fall, mid-length grass is the preference. In winter, tall grass can get matted and become diseased. But when cut too short, lawn roots can be exposed to damagingly cold temperatures. Focus on striking the right balance in fall so your lawns ready for winter.
Shorten your cool season grass to about 2.5 inches before the first frost in winter. Mow warm-season grasses to 1.5 or 2 inches in fall.
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You Rob The Grass Of Its Ability To Produce Food
See, grass leaves are like solar panels.
They work like solar panels in that they trap light from the sun which is used in photosynthesis, or the production of food.
When you mow infrequently youre almost guaranteed to mow too short. As a result, you remove most of the leaf and therefore its ability to produce food.
What Happens When You Cut The Grass Too Short
Grass that is cut too short can put a lot of stress on the lawn. You see, each blade of grass is a leaf, and when theres less leaf area, the grass will have less surface area to provide photosynthesis that fuels root and leaf development.
When the grass is cut too short, the grass plants actual crowns can be injured by the blade, which will open up a lot of problems. The plant will put its energy to recover from crown damage, which will make the lawn more vulnerable. When this happens, it will increase the pressure from diseases, weeds, and insects.
Once a lawn suffers widespread crown damage, it may struggle against infestations and weed invasions throughout the growing season. Even if the plant crowns are not damaged, short grass will offer little shade to sensitive plant crowns. In the summer, this will put the lawn under a lot of stress.
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How Often Should You Cut Grass Follow This Simple Guide
Cutting the grass is the most important part of caring for a lawn.
Many people make the biggest mistake of all by cutting grass too short. They let it grow over the course of a couple of weeks and then hack it all off.
If you do this, you will ruin your lawn pretty quickly.
So that begs the question
How often should you cut grass?
Well, the short answer is little and often but theres a bit more to it.
Ill explain all in this article, as well as the benefits of regular mowing and how infrequent mowing damages your lawn.
A Sharp Blade Matters
Along with setting the mower at the right height, it is important to ensure that your blade is kept sharp.
Sharpening your existing blade twice per year is a good rule of thumb.
If youre handy enough, blades can be sharpened at home using a file, grindstone, or a bench grinder. You can also purchase replacement blades online or at a store that carries your brand of mower.
A very important note: remember to remove the spark plug before ever doing any kind of maintenance on your lawn mower to prevent it from accidentally starting!
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Dont Mow During The Hottest Part Of The Day
Pol Bishop, a gardening and landscape expert with Fantastic Gardeners, says to avoid mowing your lawn when the temperature is at its highest. Never mow when the sun is at its peak, as your grass will lose a lot of water and wont recover easily, he cautions. Instead, mow in the early mornings before 10 a.m. or in the evenings.
Mowing In A Straight Line
Carlos explains: Everyone wants that beautiful striped lawn but varying your mowing pattern is good for your lawn over time as it means youre not repeatedly forcing the grass to bend in one particular direction.
“Instead, one week start at the top of your garden and finish at the bottom and alternate it the mow after.”
He goes on to say that this will make the stripes appear visibly different but adds that it results in “stronger and more resilient grass over time.”
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Longer Grass Means Fewer Chemicals
All too many homeowners react to the presence of weeds assuming it’s necessary to “get out the chemicals.” This is a myth that lawn care services and chemical manufacturers are all too ready to perpetuate.
In reality, though, the reason for the weeds is very often a lawn that has been stressed by mowing it too short. The solution may be ingeniously simple: let the grass grow to a longer height and keep it there.
The 6 Most Common Mistakes Youll Make Mowing Your Lawn
During spring and summer, mowing your lawn often makes it onto your weekly to-do list. Growing a lush, green lawn that is the envy of your neighbourhood is something everyone can do, and yet so many of us get it wrong. To help you grow the greenest, healthiest lawn in the warmer months, we thought wed put together a list of the 6 most common mistakes made when mowing lawns. As long as you avoid these, your lawn will be ready for cartwheels, a game of bowls, and many, many barbecues.
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Your Landscaping Companys Schedule Matters Too
For this same reason, if you decide to hire a landscaping company to help with maintenance check what their methods for scheduling work are. Ensure that they are not scalping your lawn by just showing up and mowing regardless of grass height.
There are many landscaping companies that have been well educated via landscape architecture and design courses and degrees. But there are just as many landscaping companies that dont necessarily have the same knowledge.
You pay your lawn company when they mow, so it makes sense that they will want to mow your lawn more often. This may not be good for your grass.
If you have newly seeded grass, it is important to give it enough time to get established before mowing. It is best to wait until it is 2.5 3 inches tall before cutting it.
If your new grass is from sod instead of seed, then it is important to wait two to three weeks to allow it to properly root into the ground before mowing it as well.
How To Keep Your Mower Effective For A Healthy Lawn
An effective way of balancing your mower for a healthy lawn is by maintaining the thumb height rule and keeping the blades sharp. A Lawnmower is an expensive piece of equipment and maintaining it and the sharpness of the blades can be a bit hard. The blades can be sharpened using a grindstone, grinder, or a file if you are a handyman. Grass cut by a sharp blade tends to heal faster and even maintain the beauty of the lawn. Remember to unplug the spark plug while doing any maintenance on your mower.
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Explanation Of The Rule Of Thumb
Why are 2 1/2 inches an optimal grass height, generally? Well, what you are striving for is a balance. On the one hand, mowing the grass is like “pinching” a garden plant to stimulate rugged growth. So if you are letting the grass get tall, you are not mowing very much, which means you are passing up opportunities to stimulate good grass growth and make your lawn healthier and more attractive. But if you cut grass too short , you stress it.
Take note that it is the height that the grass has attained that should determine when it is time to mow: it is your lawn’s way of giving you a cue . It would be arbitrary to establish a schedule for mowing based on length of time between mowings. For instance, advising someone to “mow every other week” fails to take into account the growing conditions during that period of time. For example, rainfall stimulates growth in lawns, so the presence or absence of rain will have a great impact on mowing frequency.
While the 2 1/2-inch height for a cool-season grass is optimal for the fall, it is hardly an absolute figure that must be adhered to throughout the mowing season. If you are trying to get rid of crabgrass, for instance, you may wish to make an adjustment in spring and summer. That is because it is during these seasons that the annual crabgrass weed competes for space with your lawn grass.
How Short Should You Cut Your Grass And Why Too Short Is A Disaster
It can be difficult to judge how short you should cut your grass. Youll want it to look nice no doubt, with many, perhaps yourself, idolising a bowls lawn or a golf green style. This simply may not be possible, with lots of factors dictating the height of cut. What you may be surprised to hear is that it can be beneficial to cut your grass at a longer length to promote its overall health. Obviously, you wont want the lawn to look overgrown, but there is a balance to strike between too short and too long.
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Recommended Lawn Mowing Heights By Season
We all know trees change throughout the year, but did you know lawns are also meant to change with the seasons?
Yep, as spring, summer, fall, and winter go round, lawns need a slight change in height to stay their healthiest.
Below, read through the best height to mow your lawn based on the time of year and the type of grass you have.
How High Should I Cut My Grass
It might not seem as efficient, but you should mow your lawn as close to high as possible. How high that is will depend on factors like the type of grass you’re growing as well as the time of year.
For the prime growing seasons of spring and summer, cool-season grasses should be kept longer than warm-season grasses. Warm-season grasses should be cut shorter in spring than in summer.
The good news is most newer mowers have easy-to-use variable height adjustments so raising or lowering your blade or deck is simple.
Taller grass has more leaf blade which is crucial for a healthy, resilient lawn. Longer leaf blades means more photosynthesis for the grass. In turn, this makes the grass healthier, and more capable of fighting disease and invasive weeds.
The easiest way to make your lawn healthier and more attractive is to mow the grass higher. As a rule of thumb, never cut more than 1/3 of the grass at once.
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A Trick To Help You Remember These Measurements
So how do you remember this rule of thumb? You do not want to have to go out there with a tape measure to gauge the height of your lawn and determine when it’s time to mow, right?
A tip to make things easier on yourself is to draw a line across one of your lawn mower tires that stands 3 2/3 inches above surface level. Draw an arrow, as well, to indicate which direction is up/down. That way, when you think mowing time might be near, you can just wheel the mower out and see where the grass level stands in relation to your line.
As for achieving that ideal grass mowing height , initially, you’ll have to play around with the tire adjustment mechanism on your mower. But once you’ve figured out what slot results in the mowing height you want , mark that slot so that you’ll always know where it is.
Mistake #: You Didn’t Dethatch
Is mowing your lawn starting to seem a bit too complicated now that were getting into dethatching? Fair enough! Its complicated growing the best lawn on the street. If you really want the best from your lawn, youre going to have to put in the effort. So, what is dethatching anyway? According to Popular Mechanics, dethatching might have a complicated name, but its simply the act of removing thatch. Thatch is the layer of dead organic lawn matter, like grass clippings or shredded leaves. It forms on top of the soil and if its over half an inch or even thicker, its bad news for your lawn. Why? Because your lawn will starve as its not able to soak up the sun, water, and nutrients. You dont want that! So, lets dethatch!
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